THE number of students seeking help from the Society of St Vincent de Paul in Cork is on course to more than double this year.
The charity’s regional coordinator Gerry Garvey made the revelation about students in financial hardship as the organisation launched its major fundraising draw for Christmas, which the local branch hopes will bring in more than €180,000 from the public across Cork.
Mr Garvey said the homelessness and housing crisis has put extra pressure on the services of St Vincent de Paul because families and individuals need to turn to the organisation for help because of increased rents.
He also highlights a dramatic increase in requests for help from students, saying: “We spent €100,000 last year in our third level education support. This year we expect this to be around €230,000.”
Students have also been hit by the housing crisis, with some rents rising to more than €900 a month for a student room.
Mr Garvey said the education unit of the organisation meets up to a dozen third level students per week who are looking for help in relation to food and transport costs, for example.
He said at least four Leap cards a week are being given to students in Cork by the organisation, to help those students commute to college.
Mr Garvey added: “This support enables people to go to college and get educated.”
The organisation does not pay rent for people but helps to meet the shortfall between that and their other living expenses, he said.
The top prize is a Ford Focus, sponsored by CAB Motors for the sixth year in a row. The draw brought in €180,000 last year and Mr Garvey said it is hoped this figure can be exceeded.
Tickets for the draw are being distributed to 220,000 homes across Cork city and county.